Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dead Time-Stephen White

Dead Time
Stephen White
Dutton, Mar 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 9780525950066

Years ago, a group of college students hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon; one morning at the bottom, they met Nicholas Paulson who was looking for his girlfriend Jaana Peek, who was in the United States on a Visa. She had disappeared so the group searched for her with three of them leaving the Canyon including Eric and Lisa who could not participate in the rescue effort. Years later Lisa agreed to be the surrogate mother for Eric and his fiancée Meredith, former wife of psychologist Dr. Alan Gregory.

Meredith turns to Alan when Lisa disappears with her fetus growing inside her. Alan, who is recovering from his DRY ICE escapade, is in New York with his stepson Jonas, prepared to take him back home if his visit with his dead mother Adrienne’s estranged family proves too traumatic. However, he agrees to help his former wife and starts with a friend’s daughter who was part of the Grand Canyon incident years ago. Every clue from the past that he uncovers proves very relevant to the present, but Alan remains ignorant that someone is watching his progress to insure he never learns the truth; before that occurs this stalker will do to Alan what happened to Jaana.

The latest Alan Gregory thriller is an exhilarating action-packed tale in which a dark past spreads its tentacles into the present. The protagonist is just starting to get his life together as he deals with a new stepson whose uncle protests his having custody of his nephew and a shaky marriage. However, when Meredith asks for his aid, his conscience makes him say yes. Although the plot moves at light speed, it is the strong characterizations that make this a special read.

Harriet Klausner